Higher Education: India Case Study

Higher Education
Higher Education

Reforming India’s Higher Education to Make India Globally Competitive

Abstract

 Higher education contributes to the development of every country.  Education is a vital part of human resource development and empowerment in a country. In all education system, the higher education plays a critical role in equipping people with knowledge, skills, and values that in return enhance the growth and productivity of a country. Therefore, investments in education contribute the economic prosperity of a country. Since independence Indian Governments has addressed key challenges facing the education system. 

The successive governments have improved access to education, expanded education infrastructure, and increased education funding. The government efforts have all contribute to a rise in literacy rates in India. The Indian education system has made progress in the last few decades. However, the system still faces significant challenges. There is a high student-teacher ratio that lowers the quality of education. There is a wide skill gap between industries and fresh graduates forcing companies to incur high cost in training and development of employees.

Additionally, there are high levels of inequality with students from poor background facing difficulties in accessing high education. The importance of the high education system in the nation cannot be ignored.  Previous studies have focused on determining how government funding impacts on higher education. This study will shift focus to improving the quality of education to enhance the global position of India.

To compete globally, India must have an effective high education system. The study examines the current state of higher education in India. It highlights the challenges that the system is facing. The main aim of the study is to come up with comprehensive recommendations to deal improve higher learning in India.

Key Words

  1. Globally competitive
  2. Higher learning
  3. Inequality
  4. Skills

Introduction

In the last decades, India has made significant progress in improving the education system, but dropout rates and low levels of learning continue to challenge the country. The India Education system has become a major concern to the leaders of the country. In 2016, Indian Parliament tabled a report that looked at the various challenges that the education system is facing. India education is facing significant challenges that are impacting on the quality of education. There is a high shortage of teachers and a rise in demand for education.

The report indicated that one teacher can handle a class of over 1000 students (Klemencic & Fried, 2015). India is a young nation, and according to the census, 600 million Indians are under 25 years (Klemencic & Fried, 2015). With the current status of the education system, these young people may not access quality education. The dropout levels are relatively high in India. Lack of infrastructure and inadequate higher education facilities causes some of the students to drop out. Additionally, there is a significant gap between education and skills.

The education system has failed to equip students with the right skills to use in the job market. According to Kaur (2015), only one out of every four graduates is employable. The vision of the higher education system in India is to realize India’s human resource potential to its fullest, but if the education system fails to equip students with the right skills, then this aim is not being achieved. The government is supposed to provide citizens with the quality education. The study will assess the challenges that higher education system is facing in India and identify the measures that the government should put in place to provide all citizens with the quality education.

Research Questions

  1. What is the current status of higher education in India?
  2. What challenges is higher education facing in India?
  3. How is higher education lowering India economic prosperity and increasing inequality rates?
  4. How can higher education be improved to make India globally competitive?

Literature Review

Higher education is an important part of developing nations. Higher education is supposed to increase human development and provide the country with skilled and innovative graduates (Coleman, 2015). Since Independence, the higher education in India has shown tremendous progress. India higher education has so far produced doctors, engineers, managers and teachers who not only in demand in India but across the world. However, the higher education system is facing certain challenges that are limiting the ability to deliver its main objective of providing India with employable graduates.

The Indian Education System

            The education system is under the Human Resource Development which consists of two departments the Department of School Education and Literacy and the Department of Higher Education (Kaur, 2015). The Department of Higher Education is responsible for higher education, technical education, and minority education. India Was colonized hence most of the education activities are in line with British education system. 

The India education system previously followed the British model, but it has been improved over the years. The Indians use the 10 +2+3 system. Students spend 10 years in basic education, 2 years in senior general secondary education and 3 years in higher education (Mehrotra, 2014). For children between the age of 6 to 14 school attendance is compulsory. Adult education focuses on increasing literacy. Higher education is provided by the public and private sector (Kaur, 2015). The private sector falls under the jurisdiction of the government and rules that apply to government schools concerning curriculum also apply private education.

 English is the language of instruction in India’s higher education system. The challenge is that at lower levels the language of instruction is the language of the region and it includes the following common languages Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Gujarati, and Bengali. English is introduced as a second language in Standard VI and in the last classes Standard XI and Standard XII the language of instruction is both English and Hindu (Pilkington, 2014). In higher learning, English is the main language of instructions, and some of the students who fail to acquire the right English skills have difficulties in higher education (Bhalla, 2015).

India has one of the largest education systems in the world.  India has expanded infrastructure over the last few decades. Currently, the country has 35,000 colleges and 600 universities. Higher learning education in India is composed of Universities which offer Bachelors, Masters and Doctor’s Degree. Polytechnics and colleges provide certificate and diploma education (Kapur & Perry, 2015). 

Universities in India are divided into two main categories the affiliating and unitary universities. The affiliating universities bring small colleges and institutions together.  India has around 15,000 affiliating universities, and most of these affiliating institutions are private (Kapur & Perry, 2015). The unitary universities have no affiliated institutions, and they provide undergraduate and graduate education.

There are deemed universities in India. Deemed universities are considered to be of national importance. Some of the deemed universities were private institutions specializing in specific areas such as technology. Deemed universities specialize in a limited number of fields, but they have the same rights and rules as the ordinary universities.

India has 13 deemed universities mainly specializing in the field of technology and medicine. India has developed open universities. The first Open University was established in 1985 in Hyderabad. Other states such as Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Bihar, Karnataka and Gujarat have also established open universities (Kaur, 2015).

Challenges Facing Higher Education

The Teacher-Student Ratio

A study compared India Education system to other developed nations indicated that the student ratio is relatively high in India. The study concluded that in developed countries the average student-teacher ratio is 11.4 (Kapur & Perry, 2015). India student teacher ratio is double, and it currently stands at 22.0 (Klemencic & Fried, 2015).  Research on Asian education system indicated that China stands ahead in the education system in Asia.

India and China have a large education system, but China has managed to improve the quality of education (Kapur & Perry, 2015). India education system was placed ahead of countries like Bangladesh. However, the study indicated that India is facing an acute shortage of teachers. Though India education system comes ahead of some of the underdeveloped countries, the teacher-student ratio was a major issue in India as opposed to other countries in Asia. In Western Asia,

For instance, the student teacher ratio was 15.3, and this is still better that India’s high student-teacher ratio (Rizvi & Gorur, 2014). The high student-teacher is causing serious impacts on education quality. The teachers have to handle many students, and this is increasing demotivation levels among teachers due to overworking.

Quality of Education

A survey conducted on engineering students indicated that only 25% of engineering graduates are employable (Mehrotra, 2014). Out five engineer graduates only 2 are qualified for jobs in the Indian market. This survey indicates the seriousness in the quality of education offered in higher learning. The main objective if higher learning in India is yet to be achieved.

The quality of education delivered in most higher learning institutions is poor. The students produced by the education system do not have the right skills at the job market. Industries face a problem of finding suitable employees, and they have to incur high costs in training and development of employees.

 Poor education quality is the lack of teachers is contributing to poor education quality. Teaching is not an attractive course in India.  In India, attractive courses are engineering and medicine. Families are putting a lot of pressure on children to become doctors and engineers.

Those who decide to take courses such as teaching are not held in high regard in the families making it a less attractive course. Teaching has been identified as the last choice of career. The number of teachers produced is low (Tomar, 2014). In higher learning institutions, the number of Ph.Ds that are required is very low. Some institutions are being forced to hire fresh graduates to teach in universities leading to poor quality of classroom instructions.

Inequality

The Indian government is facing a major challenge of providing access to quality education to students from poor families. Students from poor backgrounds are disadvantaged in India. India education system has been politicized (Coleman, 2015). Some of the private institutions are owned by politicians and use government influence to forward person interest. The Indian education is expensive, and some of the students from a poor background cannot afford higher learning education (Tomar, 2014). Additionally, students are further disadvantaged since they are not academically prepared to sit for a competitive entrance examination.  The urban elite and rich students are prepared for exams since they can access private tuition and coaching.

Reforming Higher Education

India has a young population unlike some developed countries such as China, Japan, and the USA are dealing with challenges of an aging population. India must take advantage of young population to improve the economic prosperity of India and global position. India can draw various lessons from China in reforming the education system.

China faced a shortage of higher learning institutions, and the government established a massive support for Chinese Nations in oversee schools (Kapur & Perry, 2015). The benefit of using this strategy is Indian Nationals will get education India hence they are more likely to bring new ideas. Educating students abroad will enhance the position of India globally because it will prepare students for the global market.

Elearning has been used in developed countries such as USA, France, Australia, and the UK (Pilkington, 2014). Elearning will enhance access to education and reduce the congestion of existing facilities.

Aims and Objectives

The study seeks to establish the current scenario in higher learning education in India. It is important to understand the current status of the higher learning education before coming up with strategies to deal with the issues that higher learning is facing.  The Indian education system has faced various challenges in the past, and every government has come up with various strategies to deal with challenges. The efforts of the government have contributed to the improvements of the current education system. 

For instance, in 1995, India only had 25 higher learning institutions, but today it has over 600 higher learning institutions (Jain, Kadri, Ramanathan, & Ahmed, 2015). India has improved education infrastructure to become one of the largest education systems in the world.  Statistics indicate that India is the third largest higher education system and comes behind the China and the United States (Jain, Kadri, Ramanathan, & Ahmed, 2015).  Understanding the current status of the education system will be useful in identifying various areas in the education system that is yet to be developed.

Going through past studies in India education system indicates that there is a gap between skills developed in higher learning education and those required in the marketplace. This form a good basis to evaluate the quality of high learning education and assessing certain factors that contribute to poor quality education.  Additionally, understating the current status will create a good foundation to come up with suitable recommendations to improve the quality of higher learning education.

The second objective is to examine the challenges and opportunities faced by Indian Higher Learning Education. Higher learning institutions are facing diverse challenges impacting on the quality of education. Inequality has been cited as a major challenge in higher learning. States that are relatively rich have higher learning institutions as opposed to states that are relatively poor. 

Additionally, the student-teacher ratio has become a major concern. The shortage in teachers is a nationwide problem that is not affecting higher learning but other levels of education. Examining the challenges that higher learning is an important objective of the research as it will show the need to improve the higher learning institutions. Most studies in India focus on government spending and infrastructure as the main challenge it is important to give other challenges additional attention in order to come up with comprehensive suggestions to transform education sector in India.

The third objective is to find out the role of higher learning education in making India globally competitive.  Higher learning education is an important factor in every country. Every country is investing in higher learning education to improve the global competitiveness of the country.in the global market knowledge determines the level of empowerment.

Research conducted by the University Grants Commission indicated that the India must increase universities by 1500 to compete in the globally (Pilkington, 2014). India is missing out on the opportunities offered by the global market. The gross enrolment of India in higher learning education is 11% which is small compared to China 20%, South Korea 91% and USA 83% (Coleman, 2015).  Previous studies have focused on showing the impact of low enrolment levels in higher education on the economic performance of the country.

This study will look at impact at the global level and show how countries that have invested in higher learning are ahead of India in the global market. This study can draw ideas from past studies in countries such as China, and South Korea which is in Asia but they have managed to improve the higher learning education. The ideas will be used to identify various measures of transforming higher learning education in India to make India globally competitive.

The fourth objective is to come up with suggestions to improve higher learning education in India. By assessing the current status of Indian education system, it is possible to come up with various strategies improve the quality of higher learning education, and lower inequality (Pilkington, 2014). The study will draw suggestion from developed nations that can be implemented in India.

One of the suggestions is establishing e-learning in India higher learning education to increase accessibility. India can also establish massive programs to fund oversee education for Indians to provide people from the disadvantaged background with an opportunity to study abroad. The study will recommend an increase in government funding in higher learning education. Government funding will be used to reduce inequality and increase research and development in higher learning institutions.

Methodology

Research methodology describes the methods and procedures used to conduct a study.  The effectiveness of a study is determined by choice of methodology for both collection and evaluation of data.  The research methodology will develop the research design, procedures, and data collection analysis method that will be useful in understanding the higher education in India.

Type of Research

The topic of the research is to study the higher learning education system in India. The study is focused on understanding the current status of India education, highlighting challenges and opportunities, evaluating the role of higher learning education in global competition and coming with suggestions to improve higher learning education (Altbach, 2015). The type of research that that is suitable for the study is descriptive research. Data will be collected from the higher learning institutions to assess the current performance and come up with strategies hence the descriptive research will be suitable for this study.

Research Design

The research will mainly make use of secondary data and primary data. Secondary data will be the main source of data for the study secondary data will be easier to access, and it will save on time and money to conduct the research.

Secondary Sources

 Secondary data involves data collected from another source.  There are wide sources of secondary data for this study. The main secondary sources of data that will be used include annual reports of UGC, and Education Department, Economic Surveys, journals, websites, books, and Planning Commissions publications (Mehrotra, 2014). This study will make use of government publication on higher learning institutions.

Government publications will be useful in identifying government funding in higher learning institutions. Additionally, it will be used to determine the measure that government has already put in place to improve higher learning education. The Ministry of Human development in India will be a good source of information to be used in this study.

The ministry publication and website will be used to provide information on the scenario of high learning education. From this ministry, it is possible to understand the Indian Education system and infrastructure levels. Statistics collected by the Higher Learning Department will be incorporated in this study to assess the enrollment levels, dropout rates and a number of graduates.

Industry data will further be used to assess the quality of higher learning education. The study will focus on engineering industry in India and determine if the graduates that are produced by higher learning institutions are ready to work in engineering industry (Rizvi & Gorur, 2014).  Industry data will be used to determine the amount of money that is spent on training and development of employees due to the skills gap in the marketplace and higher learning institutions.

It is important to examine the inequality levels in higher learning. To assess the inequality levels, the study will focus on two states, a rich and poor state. The rich state that will be used is Delhi, and poor state is Manipur. The two states were chosen on the basis that Delhi has a low poverty rate of 9.91 whereas Manipur has a high poverty rate of 36.89.

Secondary data sources will be used to determine the number of students who access quality high education in the state of Delhi compared to the state of Manipur. The comparison will also be made in terms of the number of higher learning institutions in Delhi and Manipur.

To ensure that credibility of the study is not compromised, only reliable sources will be used. The study will make use peer-reviewed journals, government websites, and higher learning institutions publications and websites. Only credible journals, books, and newspapers will be used to collect secondary data.

Primary Sources

Given that respondents are located at a long distance, the only primary data collection method is mail questionnaire. The study will make use of mail questionnaire to collect primary data. The research will focus on getting mail contact address and request individuals to respond to questionnaires. The mailed questionnaire will cover certain aspects which include general information on India education system, infrastructure, and facilities in higher learning institutions, student teacher ratio, and accessibility of high learning institutions.

The mailed questionnaire will target 100 students in the University of Delhi.  The study will be focusing on a large number because the rate response in mail questionnaire is relatively low. By sending many mailed questionnaires, the study is likely to get more responses.

Data Analysis

Data analysis will make use of various statically methods to evaluate the data. Collected data from secondary sources and primary sources will be used to test various hypotheses that the study focuses on.  The government collected from the government, department of higher learning and higher learning institutions will be used to develop tables to indicate the growth in higher learning enrolment. 

Tables on the expenditure of government on higher learning will be developed. To further enhance the analysis, the researcher can develop tables that compare the % of government funding in higher learning between India, and other countries. Graphs can also be developed to show how education facilities are distributed in the states of India. Based on data collected, past data will be used to determine the future needs of higher learning and show that the student-teacher ratio will continue to persist if it is not addressed today.

Limitations of Study

Relying on secondary sources will have various limitations on the study. There will be sampling issues since sample used in the previous studies may not adequately represent the whole population. Accessing certain secondary data will be difficult such as getting accurate data on the student-teacher ratio in certain universities.

Use of mail questionnaire causes certain limitations. Respondents can fill the questionnaire at own convenience hence may fail to provide the right information. The response rate is relatively low.

It is important to overcome the limitations and maintain the effectiveness of research.  The study will minimize the limitations by using credible and reliable secondary sources. The study will send many mail questionnaire to ensure that they get a large number of respondents.

Conclusion

Higher learning is instrumental to the development of a country. It provides the country with the right people to drive innovation and improve the economic status of a country. India high learning education is facing various challenges that are reducing ability to achieve its vision and objectives. There is a high student-teacher ratio. As a result, teachers are handling many students lowering the quality of education.

Inequality levels are relatively high in higher learning. The poor students are disadvantaged when it comes to handling exams and accessing higher learning institutions. The high cost of high learning institutions is causing a high rate of drop-out among the poor students.  The current status of India education indicates the need to transform high learning education. The study aims at finding effective measures that India can take to deal with higher learning education.

The study will recommend the use of e-learning to increase access. The government will have to increase expenditure on higher learning to upgrade higher education in India and move towards e-learning. The government can also establish massive abroad programs for Indian nationals. It can provide students from poor backgrounds to study abroad to lower the congestion at the existing universities. There is a need to establish industry and academia connection to ensure that students acquire skills required for the marketplace.

References

Altbach, P. (2015). The costs and benefits of world-class universities. International Higher Education, 1-15.

Bhalla, V. (2015). International students at Indian universities. International higher education, 1-5.

Coleman, J. (2015). Education and Political Development.(SPD-4) (Vol. 4). Princeton University Press.

Jain, S., Kadri, V., Ramanathan, K., & Ahmed, M. (2015). A Statistical Approach to Modernize the Indian Higher Education System for Rural and Vernacular Students.

Kapur, D., & Perry, E. (2015). Higher Education reform in China and India: the role of the State. Journal of Havard, 1.

Kaur, H. (2015). Raising the quality standards in Indian higher education system. An International Multidisciplinary Research Journal, 5(3), 251-259.

Klemencic, M., & Fried, J. (2015). Demographic challenges and future of the higher education. International Higher Education, (47).

Mehrotra, S. (2014). India’s Skills Challenge: Reforming Vocational Education and Training to Harness the Demographic Dividend. New York: Oxford University Press.

Pilkington, M. (2014). Converging higher education systems in a global setting: The example of France and India. European Journal of Education, 49(1), 113-126.

Rizvi, F., & Gorur, R. (2014). Harnessing Global Resources for Reforming India Higher Education.

Tomar, D. (2014). A comparative study of service quality perception between public and the private sector in the Indian Higher Education System. International Journal of Applied Services Marketing Perspectives, 3(4), 1304.

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